BAGUIO CITY – With the Philippines increasingly getting the attention of really serious markets around the world, the country needs to prepare for their arrival by making destinations really sustainable.
Department of Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr., in his keynote message during the Regional Tourism Summit at the Holiday Inn here on December 19, emphasized that sustainable tourism is at the core of DOT’s development plan.
In presenting the country’s Tourism Development Plan, Boncato outlined that the tourism industry in 2018 contributed 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and produced 5.4 million employment opportunities, which comprised 13 percent of the total employment in the Philippines.
With the increasing foreign tourist arrivals, Boncato also reported that each tourists spends an average of $120.60 per day and usually stays around the country for an average of nine days.
Domestic tourism is also booming with around 111.4 million local tourists recorded in 2018 with total expenditures of around P61 billion.
Given the boom in the tourism industry, aside from pushing for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive tourism destinations, Boncato reiterated the importance of responsible tourism both to industry stakeholders and tourists, foreign and local.
Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas talked about the government initiatives and programs on Sustainable Tourism Infrastructure Development. Nerizza Del Fiero of the Tourism Promotions Board discussed sustainable tourism promotions.
There are also talks on creative tourism and the creative economy; farm tourism; innovations in the tourism industry, and digital marketing.
For Cordillera, DOT – CAR OIC Regional Director Jovy Ganongan affirmed an increasing tourist arrivals, wherein the 2,185,877 arrivals in 2018 was up by 10.97 percent compared to the 2017 figure of 1,969,707 million.
Ganongan also shared that with the DOT – DPWH convergence program, an investment of almost P7.8 billion was already invested to pave a total of 280.76 kilometers of roads leading to tourism destinations. More related projects are still in the pipeline.
With the regional tourism roadmap and the regional slogan of “Find Yourself in the Cordilleras”, Ganongan called on stakeholders to encourage tourists to find themselves in culture, adventure and nature so as to make their stories, build memories and enjoy the experience of visiting the region.
DOT also awarded plaque of recognition to star – rated establishments in the region led by the Baguio Country Club(5 star) and The Manor Camp John Hay and Forest Lodge(4 star). (JDP/CC-PIA CAR)